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Am J Public Health. 1997 April; 87(4): 574–579.
PMCID: PMC1380835

The role of diabetes mellitus in the higher prevalence of tuberculosis among Hispanics.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: This research studied the relative contribution of diabetes mellitus to the increased prevalence of tuberculosis in Hispanics. METHODS: A case-control study was conducted involving all 5290 discharges from civilian hospitals in California during 1991 who had a diagnosis of tuberculosis, and 37,366 control subjects who had a primary discharge diagnosis of deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, or acute appendicitis. Risk of tuberculosis was estimated as the odds ratio (OR) across race/ethnicity, with adjustment for other factors. RESULTS: Diabetes mellitus was found to be an independent risk factor for tuberculosis. The association of diabetes and tuberculosis was higher among Hispanics (adjusted OR [ORadj] = 2.95: 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.61, 3.33) than among non-Hispanic Whites (ORadj = 1.31: 95% CI = 1.19. 1.45): among non-Hispanic Blacks, diabetes was not found to be associated with tuberculosis (ORadj = 0.93: 95% CI = 0.78, 1.09). Among Hispanics aged 25 to 54, the estimated risk of tuberculosis attributable to diabetes (25.2%) was equivalent to that attributable to HIV infection (25.5%). CONCLUSIONS: Diabetes mellitus remains a significant risk factor for tuberculosis in the United States. The association is especially notable in middle-aged Hispanics.

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